Despite the availability of vaccines, many dogs are affected each year by distemper, hepatitis, parvovirus, leptospirosis and kennel cough. There is no need for this to happen as a dog can be protected through a course of injections as a puppy and then regular boosters throughout his life. Here are some points to consider:
- Puppies should be vaccinated at 6-9 weeks of age and then again at 10-12 weeks. They will usually become fully protected two weeks after the second vaccination but your vet may recommend a third dose for some puppies.
- The vaccine contains a modified dose of the disease and this stimulates the dog’s immune system to produce antibodies that will be able to fight the disease should they become exposed to it at a later stage.
- If your dog is unwell, has been recently unwell or unusually quiet when he is due to have his vaccinations, make sure that you tell your vet. It may be a good idea to postpone his injections for a while, just to minimise the small risk of adverse reaction.
- Vaccines are given in different ways. Most are injected into the ‘scruff’ of the neck; however, the kennel cough vaccine is given as drops into the nose.
- Regular ‘booster’ vaccinations are necessary to keep the dog’s immunity levels high enough to protect him against disease throughout his life. Your vet will advise you on how often your pet needs to be vaccinated.
- Should an unvaccinated dog or puppy come into contact with one of these diseases, it could prove to be fatal. Those that recover may be left with long-term damage to vital organs.
- Apart from kennel cough these diseases share the initial symptoms of depression, appetite loss, and a high temperature. Veterinary treatment should be sought immediately if your dog is unwell, whether vaccinated or not.
Remember, ALL of these diseases can be fatal:
Microchips are also implanted using an injection, albeit with a slightly larger needle. Read the microchipping section to find out how it is done, why it is useful and where you can get it carried out.